Concerns around the mental health of returning service members—particularly those with combat exposure—continues to dominate discussion amongst military and medical professionals.
A range of mental health issues, including post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, and suicidal ideation, commonly surface in service members post-deployment. Honoring the service members who protect us, then, involves actively seeking to mitigate these effects and to protect them, too.
To this end, the U.S. Department of Defense funded a study to determine the impact of unit cohesion during deployment on post-deployment mental health—and the findings show that taking a more preliminary approach to addressing mental health may be the way forward.
“Our team identified unit cohesion, the shared identity and mutually supportive relationships that develop among members of the same unit, as the key potential factor for reducing the adverse mental health outcomes of combat exposure,” Flynn says.
Using longitudinal survey data